A man arrested in Edmonton has been charged in the brutal assault of Dustin LaFortune, and police say they are investigating the possibility there may be other victims.
LaFortune, 26, was dumped at a Regina hospital by an unidentified man in April with injuries his family believes were the result of torture.
Charges brought against Dustin Ward Paxton, 30, include two counts of aggravated assault and one count of forcible confinement. Calgary police also said Wednesday afternoon that other individuals have come forward and that they're investigating those allegations.
"I can't get into the specifics of other parallel investigations," Det. Doug Crippen told reporters at an afternoon news conference.
"At this point we are speaking with other individuals and we are encouraging if there are any other individuals who need to report a criminal act with regard to this matter that they come forward."
Found in Edmonton
Canada-wide warrants were issued for Paxton on Monday by Regina and Calgary police. A tip led investigators on Tuesday night to a home in a southeast Edmonton neighbourhood where Paxton was living, police said.
The tactical unit was called in, and police were assisted by the Fugitive Apprehension Sheriffs Support Team, which tracks fugitives in Alberta. Paxton was taken into custody without incident at about 8:30 p.m. MT.
"We heard, like, a big bang," said Anjani Mohan, who lives just a few doors away from where Paxton was arrested. "It sounded like a car backfired but kind of louder."
Mohan got up from dinner and went to check out the commotion.
"We took a walk down there, and … we looked around, and we seen probably about four SUVs and a bunch of cops and detectives everywhere."
Police check identity
Police said Paxton was not initially forthcoming about his identity, so Calgary police travelled to Edmonton to verify that the man arrested was Paxton.
Paxton had been renting a bungalow at the end of a cul-de-sac since May. His landlord, Rick Guile, said he had no idea who Paxton really was.
Guile said Paxton told him his name was John Roach, showed him a piece of ID with that name and said he had a job fixing iPods for a living.
It wasn't until Guile received a visit from police on Tuesday night that he heard a different story.
"They interviewed me as to who lived in the house and showed me a picture of Dustin, and I ID'd him," Guile said.
Paxton was expected to be taken to Calgary from Edmonton on Wednesday night, Calgary police said.
'We are so relieved'
Police believe LaFortune, originally from Winnipeg, was assaulted and confined in Calgary between Dec. 1, 2008, and March 2, 2010, then assaulted again in Regina between March 15 and April 16.
LaFortune and Paxton lived and worked together in Calgary, and it's alleged that's where the abuse began.
Charges related to Regina will be handled in Calgary, police said.
According to court documents obtained by CBC News, Paxton has a lengthy criminal record that includes another unlawful confinement charge dating back to 2001. That charge, which involved a Winnipeg woman, was later stayed.
After months in hospital, LaFortune, who was emaciated when he was admitted with burns, cuts and other serious injuries, is still in treatment.
LaFortune used to weigh 250 pounds but was down to 87 pounds when he arrived at the hospital. He has since regained much of his weight and is able to get around with the help of a walker.
His family has said he will soon be transferred to a rehabilitation centre in Victoria.
Case drew attention
Regina police spokeswoman Elizabeth Popowich said the case had drawn a lot of attention.
"We now have the start of the judicial process ahead of us, and that's a good thing," she said. "It helps bring some resolution to the victim and the victim's family."
Renée LaFortune said she knew that police were closing in on Paxton. But news that police had finally arrested the man accused of brutally assaulting her son still packed a wallop.
"We are so relieved," she said. "We are just, like, exhausted because we have not slept in, like, four days. And in the last four months, we have had very little rest."
In a Facebook posting after the arrest, Renée thanked detectives.
Paxton is to appear in provincial court in Calgary on Friday.